[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [ontolog-forum] One new English word every 98 minutes

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: SW-forum <semantic-web@xxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 10 Jun 2009 17:41:48 -0400
Message-id: <4A30289C.9080300@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Adrian, Rich, Joel, and Martin,    (01)

The goal would be more impressive if the result weren't so silly:    (02)

 > The Global Language Monitor today announced that 'Web 2.0' has
 > bested 'Jai Ho', 'n00b', and 'slumdog' as the 1,000,000th English
 > word or phrase added to the codex of the fourteen hundred-year-old
 > language.    (03)

Source: http://www.languagemonitor.com/no-of-words    (04)

Trying to define the boundary of what or is not an English word is
as difficult or ridiculous as defining a boundary that distinguishes
a river from all the wetlands, streams, swamps, and flood plains it
travels through, near, around, or over.    (05)

Some people say that a language consists of the totality of all
its dialects.  But that raises the question of how one can define
a dialect or distinguish two similar dialects.    (06)

I like Wittgenstein's definition of a language as the totality of all
language games that are played with a given vocabulary.  But that
raises the question of how one defines a vocabulary or a language game.    (07)

AW> So, does this strengthen the case for controlled vocabularies,
 > or indicate that the task of controlling the English language is
 > hopeless?    (08)

RC> No, it means that the "control" mechanism must be dynamic and
 > adaptable.    (09)

It's clearly hopeless to control any natural language, and any attempt
to stop the unbridled growth is counterproductive.  The attempts by
l'Académie Française were as effective as building a picket fence
to stop a tidal wave.    (010)

But controlled natural languages are a very natural development
for creating new language games for special purposes.    (011)

Aristotle's use of Greek for syllogisms is a well-known example
that was adopted and extended by Euclid and other mathematicians.
Other examples include the special language games created by text
messagers, baseball umpires, religious preachers, diplomats,
tobacco auctioneers, and parents who talk to their babies.    (012)

JW> ... I just end up sounding like a long winded n00b.    (013)

If I took the Language Monitor gang seriously, I would point
out that 'Web 2.0' made it into the language, but 'n00b' didn't.    (014)

MH> I did some quantitative studies (preliminary) trying to assess
 > what typical delays for consensus in standardization of terminology
 > or structures mean for the coverage of the current vocabulary in
 > the artifact specifying the vocabulary.    (015)

Such studies are important for understanding how terminologies grow.
We can't stop the growth, but if we get out front, we might be able
to guide some of the rivulets into promising directions.    (016)

John Sowa    (017)

Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/  
Config Subscr: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/  
Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/ 
To join: http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid1J
To Post: mailto:ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    (018)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>